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03.03.2009 Politics

After being mauled by court MILLS TO DECIDE MUMUNI`S FATE…As Minority prepares for real battle

By Stephen Odoi Larbi - Ghanaian Chronicle
After being mauled by court MILLS TO DECIDE MUMUNI`S FATE…As Minority prepares for real battle

Following a court ruling against the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni in a case he filed against Daily Guide, a private daily newspaper, the minority Members of Parliament (MP) have indicated their intention to pursue the matter until it is laid before Parliament for deliberation, since the substance of the findings raised by the Auditor-General still hangs over the Minister's neck.

Explaining the rational behind the stand taken by the minority in a telephone interview with this reporter, its leader, Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu who doubles as the MP for Suame said since the court had ruled against Alhaji Mumuni, it means he has been indicted by the Auditor-General and it would be prudent for the House to debate on the issue and recommend to the State Attorney for prosecution, but added that “for now we are awaiting what President Mills will say”.

“Clearly, we will press that the matter comes to Parliament, after which we would definitely take it up and then recommend to the state Attorney General to prosecute him”, he noted.

Mr. Mensah-Bonsu held the notion that it would be prudent for Alhaji Mumuni to step down from his Ministerial position and fight in the law courts to extricate himself just like Dr. Richard Anane did sometime ago before the President reinstated him.

“He should put himself in the shoes of Dr. Richard Anane. If you don't get a Ministerial position, that shouldn't be the end of your life, you can still work in a different capacity for government”, he noted.

In the wake of a new era, when things appear to be working as planned, recent happenings from some members of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) seem to cast a slur on the image of the new administration, which is gradually dampening the confidence reposed in the newly appointed Ministers by the President.

From the authorization of the controversial Chinery-Hesse report to the purported Baffour Awuah and Associates forensic audit report into the activities and operations of the National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI) by the Auditor-General, inside sources at the Castle have indicated the President's desire to crack the whip on any erring Minister.

According to the source, the President was not aware of the existence of such a forensic audit report against Alhaji Mumuni, until during his vetting where he (President Mills) requested for a copy of the report to study. The source said the President was shocked with the findings of the report against Alhaji Mumuni and even belatedly attempted to withdraw his nomination and substitute him with Dr. Ekow Spio Garbrah, but for the fact that the matter is still pending before court, the President has deemed it fit to wait for the outcome and then decide on what to do next.

Now that the court has ruled, luck seems to be running out on Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, as he has, however, declared his intention to fight to the end by appealing against the ruling, in a desperate attempt to cling on to his position.

Mr. Samuel Atta Akyea, MP for Akim Abuakwa South, in an interview with this reporter ruled out any possibility of Alhaji Mumuni staying in office to continue the fight against his alleged defamation of character, since the court ruling has justified the publication by Daily Guide newspaper.

According to him, the character exhibited by Alhaji Mumuni, who was then the Minister of Employment and Social Welfare does not augur well for him to assume the position of the first diplomat of the land, and therefore, advised him to resign his post whilst he continues his fight against Daily Guide in the court, since his appeal won't change anything until the decision has been set aside.

“The ruling is still binding on him and if I'm to advise him, I will ask him to resign and clear his name first, before assuming the high office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”, he noted.

According to the Akyim Abuakwa legislator, if Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni had complied to the advice of the minority during his vetting, he would have been in the best position to decide whether to accept his nomination or not. He was of the strong conviction that even when the minority fails to take the matter up, a lot of his colleagues in Parliament would be forced to go to court for redress.

It would be recalled that Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni's vetting witnessed one of the most rigorous intellectual exercises in the history of the work of the Appointments Committee of Parliament when he appeared before it on February 9th, 2009.

During Mumuni's vetting, the minority walked out from the Speakers Conference room, venue of the event, in a situation it described as misuse of discretionary powers by the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho, when they (minority) raised issues concerning Alhaji Mumuni's indictment by the forensic audit report which was conducted by Messrs Baffour Awuah and Associates at the instance of the Auditor-General.

Alhaji Mumuni escaped by a vote of Parliament, through a majority decision of 116 to 74, and he has since been sworn into office by President Mills.

In the said report, the NVTI was cited as a conduit for siphoning an amount of over 19.6 billion old Ghana cedis of government funds to known and unknown persons, through huge and fraudulent payments to companies and enterprises as well as a member of individuals.

It made specific findings against Alhaji Mumuni and other colleagues including the late Mr. Victor Selormey, who was then the Deputy Minister of Finance and the former Controller and Accountant-General, R.K. Tuffuor.

The report noted that the acts of omissions and commissions perpetrated by the former Minister and his colleagues in the release of an amount of 19 billion old Ghana cedis to the Director of NVTI did not only result in financial loss to the state of over 15billion old Ghana cedis, being total amount fraudulently paid out of the sum of 19billion old Ghana cedis to private companies and individuals for goods not supplied or services not rendered, but also constitute misconduct and gross negligence under the provisions of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.